World Bank Support to Improve Learning and Empower Girls in Mozambique [EN/PT]

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WASHINGTON, March 26, 2021 — The World Bank approved a new financial support for the implementation of the Government of Mozambique’s efforts aimed at increasing learning readiness and girls’ retention in upper grades of basic education. The project will have a nationwide approach, with special attention to underserved areas facing greater educational challenges. The support includes an International Development Association (IDA) grant of US$160 million equivalent and a Trust-Fund grant from the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) in a total amount of US$139 million.

“Achieving universal basic education for girls is critical to end child marriage and significantly reducing early childbearing and the extremely high fertility rates,” noted Idah Z. Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Mozambique, Madagascar, Comores, Mauritius, and Seychelles. “Moreover, educating girls has multiplying effects on future generations, as it engenders a virtuous cycle with long-lasting effects to communities.”

Mozambique has a young and rapidly expanding population, posing both a challenge and an opportunity to long-term development. Despite progress made over the last decades, Mozambique has one of the highest illiteracy rates in the region. The country’s human capital indicators are low, with wide geographical and gender disparities across the country. Moreover, dropout rates are high especially among girls, and education access continues to be a challenge, especially at the preschool and upper grades of basic education where large enrollment disparities between boys and girls persist.

This project focuses on two major bottlenecks in the education cycle, which are: low learning outcomes during the first three years of primary schooling; and low girls’ retention and transition to upper grades of basic education. “This is why this project invests in strengthening and expanding preschool services and quality of learning in the early grades, which help develop critical foundational skills to boost learning along all the schooling cycle,” noted Marina Bassi, Senior Economist and the project’s task team leader. The project will build one hundred new additional preschool facilities known as Escolinhas in rural areas with low educational attainment, and support reading skills improvements in grades 1 to 3 by training and supporting teachers, and ensuring that learning materials are made accessible to children in those grades.

“Increase access and retention of girls in upper primary and lower secondary education is a key objective of this operation,” added Lucia Nhampossa, Education Specialist and the project’s co-task team leader. “This will be achieved by contributing to safe and inclusive school environment for girls, expanding the supply of lower secondary schools country wide especially in areas with low enrollment of girls, and improving the conditions of school infrastructures to help attract and retain girls.” Additionally, the project will implement sexual and reproductive health education programs and gender-based violence awareness and mitigation campaigns in upper primary and lower secondary education schools, as well as mentorship activities for girls. The project will also expand the scale of Distance Learning facilities, amongst others.

This operation is in line with the country’s priorities outlined in its five-year plan, as well as the Bank’s partnership framework for FY 2017-21, which acknowledges that a more diversified, productive, and inclusive economy will require greater investments in human capital.

  • The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.